What You Should Know About Vitamin D Deficiency

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – If you’re feeling tired and sad this time of year, you might not actually have clinical depression. Many people feel blue when they have a vitamin D deficiency. People in the midwest are especially vulnerable to vitamin D deficiency this time of year.

“Living in this area of the country, many of us are at high-risk for having some deficiency because we are not getting the sunlight, of course,” said Doctor Heidi Feistner from Avera. “We go outside. We’re totally wrapped up. It’s freezing cold.”

Feistner says we should aim to get about 600 to 800 international units of Vitamin D per day. To give you an idea, that’s like eating about four or five ounces of salmon.

While Feistner says the deficiency is common during the winter, she says it can happen year round.

“It depends on your job, too,” said Feistner. “So, for example, if you work all through the night, you’re going to be sleeping during the day.”

A simple blood test will confirm whether or not you’re low in vitamin D.

Vitamin D is important for feeling your best, both emotionally and physically.

“Vitamin D just helps us absorb the calcium better,” said Feistner. “So, Vitamin D essentially just keeps our bones really strong and healthy.”

Vitamin D supplements are available over the counter. Stronger ones require a prescription. However, Feistner says only take a supplement if your levels are low.

Doctors also recommend that breastfeeding women make sure their baby is getting enough vitamin D. Breast milk and formula often don’t have enough.

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